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6 / Fall 2012 / RECORD
r. Colin Laroque and his team of student researchers at
the Mount Allison Dendrochronology Lab (MAD Lab)
are used to dating some pretty unique items, including
one of Canada's oldest hockey sticks, a violin, and a 450-year-old
canoe. But a particularly special one came to them earlier this year
when the PBS program
History Detectives called on the MAD Lab
to help it determine the origins of a picture frame. It was the first
time the show, which aims to find the facts behind folklore, family
legends, and interesting objects, has used experts outside the U.S.
Family lore, in this case, held that the picture frame was made
from the stair rail of a famous sunken ship -- some family mem-
bers said Titanic, others the Lusitania.
Using tree ring analysis, Laroque and three students from the
department of geography and environment -- Cecilia Jennings,
Emily Hogan, and Bryan Mood -- were able to determine from
where the oak in the picture frame came. That was the key to
solving the mystery as the Lusitania was built using wood from
Scotland, while the Titanic was built with wood from Ireland.
Thanks to their work, the family can now say with certainty that
the picture frame came from the most famous shipwreck of all:
the Titanic.
MAD Lab solves Titanic mystery
ount Allison celebrated the grand opening of the Harold
Crabtree Aqualab: Centre for Aquatic Sciences on June
5. The $1.2-million lab, which will increase the Univer-
sity's capabilities in aquatic research, was funded through generous
donations from the Harold Crabtree Foundation -- a long-time
benefactor of Mount Allison -- as well as the Canada Foundation
for Innovation (CFI), the Province of New Brunswick, and the
New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF).
"This world-class facility marries field-based aquatic research
with lab-based studies, reflecting real-world environmental
conditions," says Dr. Suzie Currie, biology professor and the
Crabtree Research Chair in Aquatic Animal Physiology at Mount
Allison. "The Aqualab gives us a unique opportunity to understand
how aquatic animals cope with ecologically relevant changes in
temperature, salinity, oxygen, and exposure to contaminants.
Moreover, it provides a fertile training facility for students,
faculty, and visiting scientists."
Current research in the Aqualab is of both regional and national
significance as scientists study the impacts of climate change and
pollution on local species, including both fresh and saltwater fish
and invertebrates. Ongoing experiments include measuring the
effects of warming on Atlantic salmon and the impacts of toxins
such as nanoparticles on white sucker fish -- a common river species.
Aqualab holds grand opening
Pictured from left with the new donor recognition plaque are
Gerald MacGarvie (`68), vice-president of the Harold Crabtree
Foundation; Sandra Crabtree (`68), president of the Harold
Crabtree Foundation; then-Post-Secondary Education, Training
and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe; Mount Allison biology
professor Dr. Suzie Currie; and Mount Allison Dean of Science
Dr. Jeff Ollerhead.
Elyse Luray, right, of PBS's History Detectives, and Dr. Colin Laroque
with the picture frame Laroque and his team determined was made
from the wreckage of the Titanic.